As background, note that this event occurred in 1901 only 15 years after the first settlers arrived. It was before the internet, TV, radio, motor cars and the North Coast train line. So, the locals had to organise their own entertainment and travel was by horse so quite limited.
The day started with athletics, with estimated 300 people in attendance, and continued with a concert, play and dancing, with around 200 people, until 4 am in the next morning.
There were articles in two newspapers. Following is the full article from the Clarence and Richmond Examiner, with some corrections in square brackets, and a paragraph from the account in the Raleigh Sun.
Clarence and Richmond Examiner (Grafton, NSW : 1889 – 1915), Tuesday 11 June 1901, page 8
UPPER ORARA FESTIVITIES.
The people of Upper Orara celebrated the Duke of York’s Birthday in right Royal manner by indulging in a day’s athletic sports and basket picnic, under the auspices of the Upper Orara Cricket Club. The day was all that could be desired, and well on for 300 people took advantage of the occasion for a day’s outing.
As this was the first day’s athletic sports held here the prizes were not high, but a very good programme was offered and the various events were well contested. Mr. W. Robinson gave satisfaction as starter and Mr. J. Gill as judge.
- Opening Handicap-Mat Walters, 4yds, 1 ; J. Davis, 10yds, 2.
- Blind hit at kerosene tin; 16 entries – J. McGeary 1.
- Hop, step and jump – T. Ferrett, 39ft, 1.
- Ride over Jordan ; an amusing event. A barrel with a hole each end, through which a smooth pole is run and fixed on two posts; the contestants mount the barrel, and by the help of a pair of reins try to pull themselves across without over-balancing.-Won by E. Hoschke.
- Boys’ race – Baker 1, Smith 2.
- Upper Orara Handicap -Alf Ide 1, M. Goldspring 2, S. Ferrett 3.
- Throwing at wicket – Alf Ide 1.
- Tilting at the ring – T. Ferrett 1, Fred Hoschke 2.
- Farewell Handicap – E. Hoschke 1, Mat Walters 2, Arthur Best 3.
The programme for the evening consisted of a concert, drama and ball; the latter was kept going till 4 a.m. The concert was held at Mr. Alf. Walsh’s. When the chairman, Mr. J. Gill, announced the first item there must have been fully 200 people present.
A pianoforte solo, “Come back to Erin,” by Miss M. Denning, was followed by the children of the Dunvegan School, under the tuition of Miss Barnes, giving a school song very nicely. Mr. N. Watkin sang “Anchored” in fine style. Miss C. Denning, solo, “Three Fishers Sailing”; this lady has an excellent voice but was suffering from a cold. The school children again sang a [deleted] song, “Sweet Ellare,” in an effective manner; chorus by the Misses Denning, “Give him the moon to play with,” was much appreciated. Masters De Ville, Walsh and Ide gave in a creditable manner a dialogue.
Mr. Frank Hoschke recited “All’s well that ends well” in good style. Mr. N. Watkin sang “Mona,” and received a well deserved encore, responding with ” The old turnkey.” Mr. McKinnon sang “The Star of Glengarry,” and was encored, ” Poor old Paddy.”
A comic Irish reading by Mr. R. Collopy, “O’Connell’s encounter with Biddy Moriarty,” caused much amusement. Misses E., C., M., N. and Master Leslie Denning gave “The Hen Convention,” the crowing of Master Leslie being particularly amusing. Recitation by Mr. J. Boultwood, “The Country Bumpkin’s Courtship,” was entertaining.
Mr. Watkin’s song, “The song that reached my heart,” was well rendered. The Misses Denning sang ” Ma Honey’s Sweet-heart,” in good voice. Master Fred Walsh sang “Sons of the Sea,” and was followed by Misses Denning and Messrs. Watkin and Clark. Chorus, “Tavern in the Town;” another chorus by the Misses Denning, “Little Boy Blue,” brought an enjoyable concert to a close.
Buckstone’s one-act drama entitled “A Rough Diamond,” was staged with the following characters –
Ferd [Lord] Plato, Fred Hoschke; Sir William Evergreen, Alf Walsh ; Captain Blenheim, Frank Hoschke; Cousin Joe, Richard Collopy ; [Lady Plato,] Fred Walsh ; Margery, Miss Bernice Collopy ; Miss Walsh, lady’s maid. R. Collopy acted as stage manager. This was much appreciated. Miss Collopy, although only her first attempt with her part, acted like a born actress.
Mr. Alf. Walsh, Secretary to the Committee and Cricket Club, thanked those who had contributed to the day’s amusement, especially the Misses Denning and Miss Barnes, who played the accompaniments. The proceeds, £7, will be devoted towards defraying cost of a concrete wicket.
APA citation UPPER ORARA FESTIVITIES. (1901, June 11). Clarence and Richmond Examiner (Grafton, NSW : 1889 – 1915), p. 8. Retrieved November 18, 2022, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article61286654
Both events were held at Mr Alf Walsh’s farm (the Upper Orara hall was not built until 1908). Being winter it would have been cold as soon as the sun went down. There must have been more people present than expected.
Several other items had to be abandoned as Father Sol would not wait, but sent out the parting rays and retired, causing the gathering to seek shelter from the keen air, and if packing will cause warmth then no one should have been cold in the building prepared for the occasion, but which proved only too small, and uncomfortably seated, owing to the committee being disappointed in securing forms which were promised, and caused a great number to be kept standing.
APA citation UPPER ORARA. (1901, June 14). The Raleigh Sun (Bellingen, NSW : 1898 – 1918), p. 3. Retrieved November 18, 2022, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article127665331